Monday, May 22, 2017

Archival Research at the Kerlan Collection: Part I

Last year, in my seventh decade on this earth, I learned something wonderful that I wish I had learned a long time ago: you can apply for grants that will give you money to do fun things, and if you're lucky you might even get one.

Last year I applied for, and got, a travel grant to do archival research on children's author Eleanor Estes at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the Univesity of Connecticut. This year I applied for, and got, a travel grant to do more archival research on Eleanor Estes, and also on my most beloved Maud Hart Lovelace, at the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota.

I arrived last nght at the guest house in the Dinkytown section of Minneapolis where I'll be staying for the week, the Wales House on 5th Street SE, about a twenty-minute walk from the Anderson Library that houses the Kerlan Collection.
I love every single thing about it so far.

When you arrive, you take off your shoes and put them in your own numbered shoe cubby. I'm number 24.
Tucked up on the third floor is my sweet little room:

I share a bath with three lodgers. We each have our own numbered towel hook.
In the kitchen we each have our own numbered cupboard and our own numbered shelf in the fridge.

I hadn't planned to fix my own meals as a continental breakfast is provided here, and the grant money covers my other eating expenses, but I wanted to have something to put in my cupboard and on my fridge shelf, so I went to the small urban Target two blocks away and bought some yogurst, berries, and of course my necessary Swiss Miss hot chocolate.

The other lodgers whom I've met so far all hail from distant lands: a man from Japan, a woman from China, another man from Spain, All are conducting research at the University of Minnesota. I feel part of a global commuity of scholars.This morning I walked to campus with Choa from China, who is doing molecular biology medical research. Then, as it happened, I met up with her by chance at the end of my day and we walked home together.

So the trip proved to be lovely before I even opened a single box of children's literature treasures at the Kerlan, the treasures from which I'll share tidbits in my next post.

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